About this Research Topic
Conservation biology is a rapidly evolving discipline, with its historically synthetic, multidisciplinary framework having expanded extensively in recent years. Seemingly disparate disciplines, such as behavior and physiology, are being integrated into this discipline’s growing portfolio, resulting in diverse tools that can help develop conservation solutions. Demonstrations are needed, however, of how behavior and physiology — either separately or combined — have contributed to conservation success. Behavior and physiology have traditionally been considered separate fields; yet, their integration can provide a more comprehensive approach to offering solutions to conservation and management problems. Examining species’ vulnerabilities to extinction through the lenses of behavior and physiology can provide insight into the mechanisms that drive population declines and extirpations. Our goal is to increase awareness of the benefit of combining behavioral and physiological tools to improve conservation management decisions. Such studies can also help strengthen the basis for evidence-based conservation which, in some cases, has been previously lacking.
This Research Topic will focus on identifying cases in which behavior and physiology are being used as conservation tools to ameliorate impacts of environmental change, limit population declines, and perhaps promote recovery of imperiled species. This focus also encourages examples of how physiology and behavior have been integrated to better address applied conservation problems. Examples of behavioral and physiological responses of animals to anthropogenic environmental change (e.g. behavioral avoidance of predators or the effects of sublethal exposure to pesticides on stress hormone levels) are commonplace and are not the target of this focused topic, unless there is a clear link to improving conservation outcomes.
Content of Interest
• Demonstrations of the use of behavior and/or physiology as tools to devise solutions in conservation
• Integration of behavior and physiology in a synthetic approach to conservation problems
• Examples of how behavior and physiology of individuals can “scale up” to understand population-level processes
There are a variety of studies in which behavior and/or physiology have been used as conservation tools; a few examples from existing literature include using knowledge of:
• movement behavior to inform construction of road crossing structures for migrating species
• territorial behavior to evaluate group housing strategies in ex-situ conservation and to evaluate physiological responses to changes in density
• behavioral biomarkers to assess ecotoxicological effects of pesticides and limit exposure
• stress-hormone levels, movement behavior and habitat selection to assess landscape connectivity in fragmented habitats
• species-specific physiological requirements to design shelter microhabitats in response to climate change
• intraspecific communication to attract conspecifics to restored or created habitats
• the role of learning in predator-recognition training
• aggregation behavior to mitigate disease transmission
• thermoregulation and behavioral fevers to combat pathogens and parasites in ectotherms
• microhabitat preferences to enhance climate refugia
• physiological and behavioral control of invasive species
• assessing physiological responses to different light spectra to inform urban lighting
• assessing physiological responses to wastewater effluent to inform management decisions
We welcome theoretical contributions, reviews, methods papers, original research, and perspectives that are consistent with the content of interest and the specified focus of this Research Topic.
Keywords: Behavior, conservation, multidisciplinary, physiology, scale